There's really no such thing as a "normal" day for an Employment Law Adviser. However, here’s an insight into a particular working day.
8:30 – I arrive at the office early to discuss any important news updates with my colleagues and our team leader.
09:00 – I log in to my phone and at 9:01 the first call comes through …….
It’s an interesting call about a unique situation with a four legged friend and a frightened employee. I decide to involve my colleagues in the Health and Safety Advice Department.
Next, a client rings me urgently needing some support as an incident has occurred on site where two employees have had an altercation and needs to know how to handle the staff involved. So I get stuck in understanding all the details – what exactly has happened and who has been involved. I ask about the employees’ previous disciplinary records, and whether there have been any incidents of this kind in the past because it’s important to show consistency in these circumstances. 10 minutes later, the client is happy and confident to deal with his personnel issue. I tell him to keep me updated with what happens.
Half way through the morning I am busy responding to client’s e-mails, faxes etc, because clients can request advice in any one of these ways. This morning there has been a variation of disciplinary, grievance and long term sick cases.
11:00 – A client has sent through some job descriptions and personnel specifications they will use for their next recruitment exercise and we review together over the phone. We arrange to speak again in a fortnight when the client has had chance to advertise for the post.
Another client calls with a question about the upcoming Royal Wedding and whether he needs to let his staff have this day off. I tell him this depends on what the contracts of employment say, so we have a look on our system because our Consultancy team drafted them for this client. It turns out his employees are not automatically entitled to the day off.
12:00 – Grab a spot of lunch with some colleagues.
13:00 – I come back from lunch and notice that I have several messages from clients about their cases. I call them back in turn, including an interesting situation involving nudity in the workplace! As you can tell, we get calls about anything and everything – it definitely makes the role more interesting.
Some calls, like one I have just had on a potential TUPE issue, require some complex thinking and I take time out to undertake some research – usually this happens when the advice I will give depends upon the careful analysis and interpretation of a particular piece of legislation, so I get my legal guidance books out to help me find the answer.
15:15 – The next call comes from a client who has a long ongoing dispute with an employee about a pay issue. He updates me with the latest developments – he has received some written correspondence from the employee’s legal adviser – and I help him to formulate a response, making sure our references to the relevant legislation are up to date. I then speak to my team leader about this one, sometimes it helps to get a second opinion from a colleague who has often dealt with a similar case.
16:30 to 18:00 – In the last hour of the day, I take further calls, mostly shorter ones dealing with clients who want to change the way their employees take holiday, and another who has had a request for paternity leave from an employee but he isn’t sure whether the employee is entitled to it. I take her through the eligibility criteria and we establish that the employee is entitled. I inform her about the further support we can offer in this situation. Finally, I make sure my emails are up to date and I cast an eye over the calls I need to make to clients tomorrow, in preparation for another busy day.
Our employment law advisers deal with businesses issues on a daily basis. So if you require any employment law support, please contact our Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.